Owning your own business seems like a fun idea. It can be a bunch of fun because you choose your own schedule, you’re not tied to a desk and you have high earning potential and so on. Those are all the positive aspects but I’d be untruthful if I didn’t set you up with some realistic expectations of what it really takes to be an entrepreneur.
1) Do you have ambition? Ambition is the internal driving force that makes you want more and more from life. If you have been told by someone else you are very “ambitious” you don’t need to worry. On the other hand, if you have no clue what ambition feels like then take this as your first red flag. I consider this one of the most important attributes of an entrepreneur.
2) Do you have the physical capacity to own a business? Are you in good physical health? This is important because you don’t receive paid sick days when you work for yourself. In most cases if you are sick and out of work you are not making money at the same time. If you don’t have the energy, stamina and health to own a business I would suggest getting in good physical health first. Working the long hours and additional stress takes a significant toll on your body.
3) Do you have the mental capacity? I’m not talking about having the “smarts” to run a business. This one is often overlooked because when people start a business they are extremely positive. After a while, people, resources, and conditions will start chipping away at your mental capacity. If you are already a positive, aware and grounded human being you will do just fine but if you find yourself complaining and miserable already, work on your mental health before you start a company. If you choose to move forward anyway, get yourself a life coach or business coach who can walk you through the rejection and uncertainty that you are destined to face. Other ways to improve your mental stability is to journal each day and read personal development books.
4) Are you willing to put in the hours? Setting up your business is going to take the most time and work. It’s very unusual to find a new business owner have everything set up right out of the gate. Are you willing to put in the 16 hour days and stay up till 4:00 in the morning if needed? I’ve put in many of these days and I don’t know an entrepreneur who hasn’t. Some of this time will be spent on clients and most of this time will be spent on setting up business processes. The long hours are not forever, soon you will be setting boundaries on the times you work and the times you play. Eventually, you will get to the point where your business runs smoothly and you have time freedom.
5) Do you have sales skills? This comes in handy when you need clients and money. You need to have some experience in sales even if it is the door to door or network marketing. You’ll need to influence others to buy your product/service or you have no business! If you don’t have any sales skills they can be easily learned by reading articles, watching YouTube videos or seeking out a sales coach. I also include promoting yourself under sales skills because this is included in the sales process. Are you willing to put yourself out there? You need to tell everyone you meet what you do and promote yourself via marketing. Many people are too scared to do this and, in turn, they have a failing company.
6) Are you organized? This is another skill that can be learned pretty quickly. It can be very frustrating to others if you are not organized. For example, if you keep losing your client’s logins or information and you have to keep emailing them for the info, it can be pretty annoying. Keep everything in one central location in a software system of your choosing and once you decide on one, stick with it. My favorite organizational system is ASANA and is free of charge.
7) Can you manage money? This skill can be learned as well. This skill can also be very frustrating to a business owner. Instead of getting a regular paycheck where you know the exact amount every two weeks, you are getting sporadic paychecks that you really don’t know if they are coming at all. This makes budgeting and routine money management a nightmare. You are going to need to know how to make money and spend money wisely. This for me has been one of the most challenging aspects of owning a business. If you need help consult your business coach or ask another entrepreneur on how they do it.
These 7 traits are not meant to scare you off. They are really the things I wish I’d known before I started a business especially #3 and #7.